Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has confirmed that the Commission is to look into the availability of collective redress mechanisms in a number of policy domains throughout the European Union. Commissioner Almunia’s predecessor, Neelie Kroes, put forward a number of policy proposals aimed at tackling the problems faced by individuals and SMEs when bringing legal action in national courts in competition cases, including the introduction of "class action" style law suits. However, on 2 October 2009, in the face of opposition from certain businesses and the European Parliament, Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso shelved those proposals indefinitely.
Commissioner Almunia has now stated that a public consultation on issues relating to collective redress will begin in November 2010 and will run until the end of February 2011, with a public hearing in January 2011. Commissioner Almunia went on to say that he hopes to draw up a draft directive by the second half of 2011 and that the European Parliament will get a significant role in shaping the legislation. Commissioner Almunia drew particular attention to the need to develop a system that would "avoid the excesses of the US system" and not provide an incentive to bring wasteful litigation.
SPEECH/10/554 - 15 October 2010